Mothers Don’t Get Sick Days

Yesterday I finally gave in to the terrible cold/virus/allergy thing that had been plaguing me for the past six days and made an appointment with my doctor to get some kind of relief.  The cold symptoms weren’t so terrible–I am not one to shrink from the common cold–but it was the sore throat and terrible cough that pushed me over the edge.  That plus the fact that H has been sleeping like a rockstar–probably a side effect of nursing on cold medicine–so I was nothing if not supremely frustrated that I was having a hard time falling asleep due to my various ailments.  If the baby is sleeping, I should be able to sleep.  End of story.

So I lugged all three kids to the doctor at 2:45–prime meltdown time when the kids are sans nap or quiet time–and escorted them to the adult part of the doctors’ offices, a part they have rarely seen, mostly because there is nothing for them to do there other than harass sick people.  There was one lone rocking horse and the older two bee-lined it in that direction while I checked in.  I had barely time to give my name and don my oh-so-sexy mask to prevent my germs from spreading before the sounds of screaming and pummeling met my ears.   The worst part was that I was surrounded by people who were sick, cranky, and not in the mood to deal with someone else’s ridiculous children; it’s not like we were on the pediatric or ob/gyn floor where most people have kids and can empathize or are about to have kids and are watching me and mine like a case study.  These people had raised their kids and wanted nothing to do with a four- and three-year-old in an epic battle over whose turn it was to ride the rocking horse.  I understood it and tried to squelch their psychosis.

I excused myself to stop the altercation–mostly by showing up wearing a hospital mask which startled Em into loosening her death grip on the handlebars long enough for me to tuck her under my arm Heisman-style.  Jax, on the other hand, put up his dukes like he was going to fight me, which made me laugh and want to snap because I was being watched and judged by the receptionist who was not amused.  I hustled back with both kids in tow, only to have Jax wiggle free and proceed to knock over a very large (and probably expensive) sign on some kind of easel.  Having the reflexes of a cat–or a mom with three kids under five–I managed to catch it before it hit the floor or impaled anyone, but not before the receptionist shrieked and gasped in horror like my kid had almost destroyed a Ming vase.  I grabbed Jax by the scruff of his shirt and informed the receptionist that I would be taking my family to the restroom.  We were fifteen minutes early just for that purpose.  She then informed me that now that I had checked in they would really prefer if I did not, in fact, leave the waiting area.  I wanted to inform her that she was making her own misery but since neither kid seemed to be in desperate need, I let it slide.

Picture the next fifteen minutes of my life as an outtake from Kindergarten Cop or Problem Child, with Jax doing literally everything humanly possible to embarrass and horrify me.  Completely ignoring instructions and direct commands, as in Don’t go over there, Leave that alone, Please stop touching that, Come over here, while I was nursing the baby and thus unable to get up and chase him around the waiting room because then I would have a devil child and a screaming infant, the perfect combination to obtain optimal glares of disapproval.  A kindly grandmother type even tried to help by offering Jax a child-friendly magazine, at whom he merely glared and probably snarled.  I finally succeeded in getting him to sit using my hushed, stern voice behind the mask (which was a fail since I looked so ridiculous), trying to use the politically correct manner of those moms who have it all under control no matter what rather than what I really wanted to say, as in I know that you are bored and frustrated right now but I would appreciate it if you would sit here with us rather than the You sit your ass down right now, Mister, or I will never let you watch TV again–no, wait, that’s punishing me more than you.  Damnit!

When the nurse did come out to retrieve us, she found me feeding one child, while trying to entertain another while the oldest was crying and whining at the top of his lungs that he was hungry.  Mind you, I had already provided him with lunch, a second lunch of pizza, a cereal bar that he dropped on the floor which I made him throw out, and an offered bag of carrots which he refused.  He was carrying on as though I hadn’t fed him in weeks, all at a decibel level to deafen anyone in a twenty foot radius.  I was working on my plan to simply ignore him while those around me muttered to themselves about why I should never had had a third kid since I obviously couldn’t control the two that I already had.

Lost in all those animosity and embarrassment is the reality that I was the sick one!  Hello, people!  I’m the one with the mask!  Take pity on a poor mother of three who just needs an antibiotic (or a cocktail, really).  As I followed the nurse into the examination room, I tried to make light of the chaos by joking, “Well, I guess this is an illustration of the saying that Mothers Don’t Get Sick Days, huh?”, implying, I would have gladly left that at home if I could!  I got nothing from her, not even a sympathetic smirk.  I’m pretty sure I sighed the world’s most exhausted sigh with my inner miserable monologue muttering, For the love of God…

Half an hour later I left with script in hand and a handful of other embarrassing anecdotes and examples of stellar parenting including breaking up yet another fight, this time over my phone which I had finally given out as a last ditch effort for quiet.  In fact it was a constant source of interruption, with whiny interjections of Mom! I can’t SEE!  Mom!  I don’t want to play Space Angry Birds! that in fact probably lengthened the appointment considerably.  Jax’s defiant tirade continued into the bathroom, where I finally thought I could read him the riot act in peace without the judging ears of receptionists and grumpy nurses, only to discover a few eyebrows raised in accusation by fellow bathroom inhabitants as we exited the stall.  Of course.

Finally reached my minivan where I could strap my children in and comfortably ignore them while I drove to meet Jdubbs who was taking Jax to karate.  The girls and I went to a playground where I discovered not only did I leave Em’s new Cinderella sunglasses at the doctor’s office–collateral damage–I was also out of diapers for H, who was pooping up a storm.  Thus the day concluded with me strapping my baby in a 3T Pull Up and cursing that God forsaken doctors’ office and the chaos that ensued all in the name of getting an antibiotic.

Why couldn’t I have just called in sick?

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